Back to Work

by 5by5

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more. Hosted by Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin.

  

Latest Episodes

479: Use or Avoid

DISCUSSED: Skype struggles; nobody likes parsnips; Dan remotely teaches Merlin to cut his own hair; Dan introduces a new game show, and Merlin is dealing with poop; life is not currently optimized for multiple-event days; Merlin challenges you to remember when exactly eight minutes has gone by; why we'll eventually each discover what the hell happened on our personal Galápagos; the exhaustion of Zoom calls; an omnibus recommendation related to movies; finally, Dan Columbos Merlin with a question about napping, which leads to some surprising insights on our feelings about success and failure.


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Posted on 26 May 2020 | 7:30 pm


478: Morbidly Obese Clemenza

DISCUSSED: discussion of The Freshman and thoughts on what makes a movie "hold up"; has anyone ever craved a three-star movie?; what Merlin really wants is a smart friend; Dan is enjoying On Becoming a God in Central Florida; the difficulty of making weird good; I didn't buy it a beer; your mask is not a case for your beard; Dan has follow-up on bikes; Merlin has follow-up on companies and WFH help; thoughts on what we know and don't know about the difficulties of ““reopening””; the benefits and challenges of being a chain-worrying project manager; praise for the Austin Grackles.


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Posted on 19 May 2020 | 7:30 pm


477: The Immediacy Filter

DISCUSSED: Here we are in Spain; a lot went on behind the scenes of The Wizard of Oz; also Modern Problems existed; further discussion of 80s movies; they used to make more movies; B-MO gets a show?; secrets of the child whisper network; Saturday morning memories; C19 is making a lot of holes and gaps in kids' lives; what even is the deal with colleges?; wisdom from the great Kevin Kelly; it's one thing to know something, but it's another thing to know something; and, finally, beginning to explore how best to level resources and expectations as many of us work from home.


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Posted on 12 May 2020 | 5:15 pm


476: Paul Williams Sat Alone

DISCUSSED: Dan has concerns!; every road has many parts, but you seriously need to show your humanity; stop signs are really just velocipede serving suggestions; not all wood floats; too soon; an ambitious crossover is proposed; Cormac McCarthy rules; Phillip W. Battery sure has a lot going on for a busy and attentive new dad; as a main topic, your hosts bounce off a terrific recent episode of Merlin's beloved You're Wrong About; hey, what B2W-ish lessons can be drawn from the response to the Y2K "bug"?; ultimately, it is just so hard to solve one problem without potentially creating five other problems; memories of New Year's Eve, 1999; for once, Dan wasn't concerned at all; more praise for YWA, and a humble apology to Sarah; hey, listen, don't be ashamed to find delight; praise for Slugline 2; a recommendation for a James Franco movie.


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Posted on 5 May 2020 | 5:30 pm


475: ┬┐Why Not Dos Otros?

DISCUSSED: Merlin is having a strange day, and Dan notices everything; please remember that fear and stress and anxiety are pretty terrible motivators; praise for On Becoming a God in Central Florida and 1Password; security theater vs. security reality; Dan's new mouse is as quiet as a…what's the word?; Brushing with Hardest Available Toothbrush Considered Harmful; Dan is gently exposing his son to one of the great films. So what?; a couple great pieces on making actual good passwords; recommendations for a Sondheim special and a terrific YouTube guy; extensive advice and suggestions for a listener moving to a Mac; learning almost anything is a lot like learning The Metric System; and, finally, praise for the great Peter N. Lewis.


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Posted on 28 April 2020 | 6:45 pm


474: The Confidence to Keep Pedaling

DISCUSSED: our perception of value is definitely personal and maybe even a little generational; sometimes, the only thing you can afford is the best; a listener question about where your hosts are with comics; further praise for TaskPaper; updates on macOS text editing; Merlin capitulates to Catalina; Dan answers a listener question about coping with chronic back pain; learning how to stop rehearsing frailty by embracing the wonders of momentum.


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Posted on 21 April 2020 | 10:00 pm


473: French on Tom Sawyer

DISCUSSED: Dan loves it when things just work and so does Merlin; Dan is composting, and Merlin is down to clown; ¡repita después de mi!; massive real-time follow-up; playing with iBeacons; excellent follow-up and notes from listeners; many reccomendations; memories of Grad Night; this is a very silly one.


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Posted on 14 April 2020 | 7:45 pm


472: Sunday Afternoon Feeling

TW: very brief mention of suicide around minute 24. DISCUSSED: a classic three-act episode! Expertise is difficult to explain—let alone to teach; the Sunday Scaries are real; it's an interesting (and surprising) time for people with anxiety and depression; let's keep trying to give each other a break; some follow-up on Descript and the One-Drawer Project; You Look Nice Today is back; finally, Dan has some tips on surviving working from home.


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Posted on 7 April 2020 | 7:00 pm


471: One-Drawer Project

In this very intimate episode, Dan and Merlin share some ideas for positive yet do-able projects to improve your life and world in these dumb, scary times. Also, covered in this episode: recommendations for Max Richter's Sleep and an insane new podcast production app called "Descript".


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Posted on 31 March 2020 | 6:30 pm